HomeCommentComment: Diamonds: sleaze, bribery and fraud

Comment: Diamonds: sleaze, bribery and fraud

THE arrest this week of several senior Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) officials for corruption in connection with the Chiadzwa diamond mining activities confirms what many people and organisations, including the Zimbabwe Independent, have been saying for the better part of the year: that the Marange mining activities are riddled with sleaze, bribery and fraud.

Police on Tuesday night and Wednesday arrested ZMDC officials who included suspended chief executive and general manager Dominic Mubayiwa, Tichaona Muhonde, Gloria Mawarire, Mark Tsomondo and Ashton Ndlovu.
Canadile’s deputy chairman Lovemore Kurotwi was also arrested. They are facing allegations of fraudulently conning government to secure diamond mining licences.
The main characters in the whole saga include ZMDC, government’s mining arm.
New Reclamation Group (Reclam) of South Africa and Core Mining and
Minerals (Pty) Ltd are also involved. The two companies were brought into the Chiadzwa diamond activities by government.
Mbada is a 50/50 joint venture between ZMDC’s subsidiary, Marange
Resources and New Reclamation Group’s subsidiary Grandwell Holdings, while Canadile Miners is a 50/50 joint venture between Marange Resources and Core Mining and Minerals. These companies have no verifiable mining experience but they controversially got the mining contracts.
From day one we blew the whistle at the Independent after investigations into the Chiadzwa activities and carried a series of articles to demonstrate that corruption was rife in Marange. We focused on how the mining licences were issued to dubious South African-based companies without transparency and accountability. We tried to shed light in the dark corners of the shady activities of Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners.
The whole point was to show that there were irregularities and corruption surrounding the issuing of licences to these companies. This became particularly important when government ministers and other officials were denying wrongdoing.
There were also feverish denials of corruption by government cronies and hirelings trying to position themselves to pick up the crumbs from Chiadzwa. It was amazing how some individuals outside government, posturing as government spokesmen when they are not, even tried to shamelessly defend stinking corruption. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
For us as a newspaper, one of our objectives is to understand popular feeling and to give expression to it; and fearlessly expose corruption both in the public and private sectors. This is what we have been doing and will continue to do so.
Those who want to steal other people’s assets, misuse public resources for personal gain or defend and cover-up corruption will also be exposed. No one should think because they are well-connected and powerful they can steal, manipulate the system for self-enrichment and get away with it. Corruption in all its various forms will be exposed and those involved will be named and shamed no matter how powerful and influential they think they are.
Since the beginning of the year we said there were dubious mining activities going on at Chiadzwa. This issue was raised all over the place — including in cabinet many times — but Zanu PF government officials and their cronies tried in vain to defend it. Usually those with something to hide or who wanted to join the looting bandwagon jumped to the defence of Mbada and Canadile.
It is a fact that Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners were given mining licences without going through a transparent process and procedures. Mbada and Canadile signed Memorandums of Agreement in July and final agreements in October last year before they started minting.
Since then they have been massively extracting diamonds in Chiadzwa but government and the public have not benefited much. Most of the diamond wealth is not properly accounted for. It’s clear there are serious leakages due to corruption.
Government should take strong measures to clean up the mining sector which has been invaded by corrupt officials and opportunists hovering all over the place. These corrupt elements must know that we are watching them and they will be exposed sooner rather than later.

 

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